Sunday, December 31, 2006
Your Quarry's Sexual Desires Are as Individual as a Thumbprint
Hunters, huntresses, let me slap a discreet warning label on my previous recommendation of watching porn flicks. You might get the idea that every man wants a wanton woman slithering all over his body and every woman wants to be swept away and seduced by a handsome stranger on Tahiti's shores. Not true. As with so many aspects of life, just when you think you've got the solution, you find the exception. When it comes to sex, the exception is more common than the rule. No two people are alike sexually. I learned this the hard way, the first time I fell in love, even before The Project's research confirmed the tremendous diversity in sexual desires. Some years ago, I was visiting an art gallery in Chicago. Christopher also happened to be visiting the Windy City that day, installing a show of his own art. I first spotted him across the room, hanging a curious abstract canvas on the wall. I was instantly attracted to him. Everything about him fit my Lovemap. He was artistic, sensitive, and brilliant, and he had lovely, lovely buns. I could to make him return the sentiment. My relationship with Christopher was almost ideal. We enjoyed the same activities. We liked the same friends. We both loved going to the theater, skiing, and cycling. Sometimes we would stay awake all night talking. I felt Christopher was the one. As time went by, we fell into a wonderful love affair. Christopher never said, "I love you," but since everything else about our relationship was ideal, I figured our problem must have been the sex. Christopher never lost himself in the throes of passion. He didn't go wild in bed the way I'd read a man should when a woman really knew how to turn him on. Our sexual scenario was always the same. After dinner, usually at his apartment, we would be talking. At some point in our conversation, Christopher would get a cute little grin on his face, put his hand on my shoulder, slide it down my arm to my hand, and stand up. Sometimes he'd wink and say, "C'mon, little girl." Then he would lead me tentatively into the bedroom. He acted as though he had to proceed gently, cautiously with the seduction. (As if I'd say no?) Christopher's lovemaking was warm and loving, but also predictable and lacking passion. I figured that would change if I just knew how to push his buttons. I decided I needed to spice things up to make him fall in love with me, but I didn't know exactly how. One afternoon, while pondering this dilemma, my eyes happened to fall on an ad in the Village Voice for a three-hour course called "How to Strip for Your Man." It promised to "put some spice in your relationship and drive your man wild." Just what the love doctor ordered, I thought. I donned my sexiest underwear and hopped the A train to a stripper's sixth-floor walk-up apartment in a cheesy suburb. That evening, in her one-room flat, four other women and I learned how to swivel out of our skirts, provocatively let them drop to the floor, and then step seductively out of them. We got step-by-step lessons on how to slide our bra straps down teasingly, flash first our left breast and then our right, and fling the discarded bra across the room as we gyrated our hips. She taught the more agile among us to stretch out on the floor and teasingly whirl our legs around in the air. At the end of the class, our teacher went into her back-of-the-room sales pitch. Optional purchases were a cassette of stripper's music and a set of tassels. The tassels twirled amazingly well on the more well-endowed students; unfortunately my equipment was not sufficient to get one good spin out of them. However, I bought both products and, with strains of "The Stripper" dancing in my head, took the train straight to Christopher's apartment. I couldn't wait for his cute little grin, because that was going to be my cue. Sure enough, about 10:45, the corners of his lips went up. "C'mon, little girl," he said as he took my hand and we started toward the bedroom. But tonight was different. Tonight, I had a surprise for Christopher. The moment we entered his bedroom, I pushed my astonished lover into a chair, slipped the cassette into his stereo, and leaped promptly into my routine. A little fancy footwork around his dresser. One, two, three. Va-va-voom. Peekaboo, one breast. Four, five, six. Va-va-voom. Peekaboo, the other breast. Then my bra went careening cup over cup across the bedroom, making a perfect two-point landing right on his lap. But my stripping coach had neglected one critical performance skill: It is crucial to keep constant eye contact with your audience to know how you're doing. As I was writhing around on Christopher's carpet, twirling my legs dangerously near his favorite lamp, I neglected to look at his face. If I had, I would have seen a horrified expression. Christopher calmly stood up and walked out of the bedroom and out of the apartment. In tears, I gathered up my skirt, my bra, my cassette, and my unused tassels and ran all the way home. What had gone wrong? I didn't hear from Christopher for a week. Finally I called him and asked, "Can we talk?" We met for dinner, and talk we did. He was very forthright. I learned that Christopher's idea of sex was seducing a woman, not being seduced. Furthermore, his biggest turn-on, he told me, was not for the woman to be flamboyant and seductive, but to resist. Christopher, it turns out, wanted to feel like the virile seducer. Not, as he said, like "some lonely repressed guy who pays to see cheap women dance around." Wow! What an eye-opener that was for me. I resolved, at that moment, never again to make any assumptions about a man's sexual desires. Every man is different. (So is every woman, and we'll talk about that later.) On the surface, it may seem like all men just want one thing but, as I learned, there are many recipes to cook up that one thing. Sex Is Like a Steak Have you ever been hungry for a nice big juicy steak? Let's say today you are famished for a truly great one. As a gourmet steak lover, you know there are sixty-eight shades between very rare and well done, but tonight you want perfection. You go to the best steak house in town. You are very precise when placing your order. You tell the waiter, "I'd like a filet mignon, please." You painstakingly describe how you'd like your steak charred on the outside, fairly rare, but definitely not blue in the middle. You tell him, "Make sure it's pink throughout and hot, not cool, in the middle." The waiter listens patiently until you finish. Then he turns toward the kitchen and shouts, "Gimme a steak for table six!" That's the way many of us are about sex. Even when our Potential Love Partner madly hints at some erotic turn-on, we dive into bed with the finesse of a cannonball smacking the beach. Your Quarry may enjoy the sex. You may think it's great, too. But for him, without your understanding of his sixty-eight different shades, the experience is not gourmet. It does nothing for the goal of making him fall in love with you. The saddest part is, he'll never tell you why he lost interest. If you dig deep enough, no matter where you are on this earth, you will find water. Dig deep enough into any man's sexuality, and you will find a unique twist, a special spin. Hidden in that tangle is the key to his heart. The Number One Sexual Wish There is only one sexual fantasy all men and women share. It is to find someone wonderful in bed. Question: Who is wonderful? Answer: Someone who fulfills all our sexual desires, someone who likes to give it just the way we like to get it, and someone who knows how to give it just the way we like to get it. Without our having to give step-by-step guidance. Many lovers are hesitant to map out detailed directions for their partners about their sexual needs. They sincerely believe that ''when the right person comes along, he or she will 'just know' what I want.'' I once had a friend named Chip. One Christmas eve, he and I were laughing about our childhood experiences and how we used to believe in Santa Claus. Suddenly Chip's face fell flat, and he said, "Santa never brought me the presents I wanted." "Not even after you found out that Santa Claus was really your mother?" I asked him. "Nope." "Well," I asked, "why didn't you give your mother hints?" "Because," Chip explained, "if she really loved me, she'd just know what I wanted." Most of us are that way sexually. We may not believe it consciously, but most people cling tenaciously to the dream that some day, out of the blue, the right partner will sail right into our lives. And we will live happily ever after. If these same hopefuls hurled a thousand-piece puzzle on the staircase, they wouldn't expect the pieces to jump out of the box, find each other, and fit together. Yet they dive into a sexual relationship assuming all the pieces will fit. The odds that their and their Quarry's sexual desires will fit snugly together are one in a million. In the beginning of a new relationship, as all the bits and pieces are still swirling about in the air, sex is exciting. The novelty, the discovery, the conquest carries the night. It's only a few weeks, months, or years into the relationship—when the puzzle pieces start smacking the staircase at odd angles—that sexual disappointment surfaces. "Why Did He or She Lose Interest?" Huntresses, he stops calling. Hunters, she suddenly develops other things she has to do on Saturday night. Why? What went wrong? Why did your Quarry lose interest? There are, of course, as many answers to that question as there are men and women in the world, but we can make some fairly accurate generalizations. A survey we took at The Project asked single and divorced men and women why their previous relationships had ended. Whenever the respondent was the partner who initiated the breakup, we further asked, "Why? What went wrong with the relationship?" The womanwanted out, usually due to general disappointments in her partner—his personality, habits, or lifestyle, or the way he treated her. However, when the man was the one who wanted to break up, sex was pretty high on his list. The next question in our survey was: "Did you tell your partner the reason for your wanting to end the relationship?" Overwhelmingly the answer was, "Not the real reason." The men said, "I couldn't tell her that sex with her wasn't, well, you know. . . ." A woman usually wants to go out with a man because he is interesting, attractive, a turn-on, and someone with whom she might want a relationship. A man usually asks a woman out because he wants to go to bed with her. (There are exceptions, of course.) We accuse men of being gun-shy of relationships. This is not true. It's just that if a man is going to commit for a lifetime to one woman, he wants sex with her to be as perfect for him as the rest of her is. The problem is compounded because men's sexual needs are more diverse, more immediate, more pressing, and therefore it is more difficult for them to find a perfect female fit. This is a quandary. Often, a man meets a woman who seems ideal for him, but sexually she is less than the optimum experience. Most men, even today, feel that marriage should mean fidelity. "Is This Woman Enough for Me Sexually for the Rest of My Life?" Roger was typical of the many men I interviewed at The Project. He wanted sex to be great with the woman he would marry but, like for so many men, the fantasy woman he wanted sex with in the bedroom had a different personality from the loving wife he wanted in the living room. As it happened, Roger came from a very affluent and prominent Southern family. He had high standards in clothes, food, wine, and women. Every woman he dated was elegant, confident, well spoken, and a champion at social graces. He said he wanted to marry a woman he could be proud to introduce to his friends and family and build a life with: "One," he jokingly said, he "could introduce to Mother." When I met Roger, he was engaged to a lovely woman named Diane who was everything his family could have hoped for Roger and everything Roger ever dreamed of finding in a woman, except she lacked one thing: sex. There was nothing wrong with Diane sexually. She was loving, willing, and warm. The problem was that, in Roger's deepest hidden sexual fantasies, he dreamed of being in bed with, as he described it, a hot number who was insatiable for his body. Diane was just too ladylike in bed, he complained. When they were making love, Roger's imagination had to do the work. During sex, he imagined that Diane was crying out dirty words. He longed to hear her in the heat of passion scream out, "Roger, f*** me! F*** me!" Obviously Diane was not the type of lady to indicate her ardor in this manner, and therein lay the problem. Roger was having difficulty maintaining an erection with Diane. I asked him if he had ever told Diane about his fantasies. "No, of course not. It would shock her," Roger replied. "In fact," he added, "I've never told anyone . . . until now." Roger is ashamed of his fantasy, as are many men. Why? Most little boys grew up constantly being told no: "No, don't touch yourself there. That's dirty. Don't look at your sister when she's dressing. That's not nice. No, don't touch Mommy there." Little boys entered puberty fearing women would scold them, reject them, if they revealed any flagrant sexual urge— like wanting to hear a woman cry out dirty words. They don't dare ask their favorite woman to play out their fantasy because of what she might think. They dread losing her to some man who doesn't think such weird thoughts. A generation of adult men now walking our hometown streets grew up terrified by horror comics—not the monsters, vampires, ghouls, and zombies inside the comics, but rather the Charles Atlas ads on the back covers! In the most terror-inducing ad, the wimp (the reader, in his worst nightmare) is sunning himself happily on the beach with his sexy girlfriend. Along comes Mr. Muscleman who kicks sand in his face and struts off. With an admiring look in her eye, the poor wimp's sexy ex-girlfriend stands up and follows the musclebound stranger (i.e., the man who does it right). Such ads induced panic attacks in millions of American men. Because ego and sex are practically inseparable grey matter in the male brain, if a man wants anything but straight vanilla sex, he feels like the wimp who will lose his girl. Even if he is just hungry for a sprinkling of some exotic spice on his vanilla treat from time to time, he feels Mr. Straight-Vanilla will come along, kick sand in his face, and take his lover away. Roger felt sexually inadequate because he wanted Diane to do "dirty things" in bed. "She would walk away in disgust if she knew," he told me. "But would she?" I asked him. I suggested to Roger that he tell Diane about his fantasies–tell her it turned him on to hear a woman talk dirty in bed. "Who knows," I suggested, "she might even enjoy it." At our next counseling session, I asked Roger, "Well?" Roger hadn't told her. He admitted he was still afraid of her reaction. Six months later Roger broke up with Diane. He said that, although he loved and respected her, the passion just petered out. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life in a passionless marriage. Sex, to Roger, as it is to most men, was just too important. I find this very sad because, if Diane could have accommodated Roger's fantasies, two otherwise very compatible people would have been able to enjoy a life together. If only he had told her he fantasized about having a very unladylike hot female between the sheets, Diane might have been able to play his sexual game. She could say the words he longed to hear, and for Roger that would have been enough. Remember, men are able to get off on playacting or pretending more than women are. Huntresses, you must find out what really turns on your Quarry and how to use it to make him fall in love with you.